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The Lucky Jim Gold Mine

The early years of the Klondike gold rush saw thousands of prospectors head north on steamships from Seattle washington. Many of these men however decided to take overland routes while others decided to prospect the many islands off the west coast of British Columbia. Many prospectors had heard about gold finds on Vancouver Island in places like Leechtown and placer gold camps on the Oyster River further north. With this information some men decided to prospect the many inlets and island of this region. It was during this time that gold was discovered in an area known as Granite Bay on the north end of Quadra Island.

At the time, Granite Bay was just a small settlement of loggers run by the Hastings Company who logged the forests on this part of the island. Once gold was discovered some of these men were hired to help build the mine. They would need to clear the land and make room to be able to mine, plus construct some building for workers to live while working at the mine. A big added bonus about this area was the logging company already had a short rail line built to the edge water for hauling logs, so any ore that was mined could be easily loaded onto this same small rail line and hauled out also. The ore would then be loaded onto a steam ship and sent to Ladysmith on the main island to be processed.

The first couple of years were slow going at the mine. With limited resources and equipment they startd to dig a shaft down following the pay seam. In 1908 the mine shipped out 86 tons of high grade ore and the following year they shipped out almost 340 tons. Things were looking up for the mine however they started to run into a serious water problem of water seeping into the drifts. This constant seepage put a real damper on production so the mine invested in a steam boiler that would power a 12 foot fly wheel. This fly wheel would in turn power pumps for pumping water out of the mine, plus it would also power a compressor for air. This air then could be pumped into the mine shaft and also be use for air powered drilling equipment.

Mining progessed for about another year or so and when the main shaft had reached an depth of about 120 feet, it became apparent that the pumps could no longer keep up with the amount of water that was flowing into the mine. It was at this point that gold prices had fallen also so that was another deciding factor to close the mine. Then in 1925 a forest fire burned much of the infrastructure that had been built at the mine site and this put an end to the mining operations for good. The mine property changed hands a few times over the years but there has been no active exploration here since.

You can still drive out to this mine site today. Much of the old buildings are long gone however you can still see the remains of the old boiler and the old steel fly wheel for the compressor is still there. The main shaft has been sealed up with a large metal grate and parts of the old pumps are laying on the ground close by.

Old Fly Wheel